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Emmitsburg Early Learning Center closes

Teresa Grable

(11/5/2014) The Emmitsburg Early Learning Center (EELC) closed its doors on October 31. The Early Learning Center had been in operation since 1996, by Poolesville Day Care Center, when it assumed operations from the Seton Day Care Center. The Seton Day Care Center has been operated by The Daughters of Charity since 1969, when it opened to meet the growing need of childcare. The Daughters of Charity’s mission for the Seton Day Care Center was a non-profit organization that provided quality childcare. The EELC continued on with that mission.

Parents of children attending the EELC were given notice of the closing in a letter in early October. In the letter, the EELC pointed to economic reasons for their decision to close the center. "Unfortunately, the Center has not been immune to the economic pressures we have all faced in recent years. As a result of such pressures, as well as the expansion of programs in public and private schools, community groups and the curtailment of funding subsidies from organizations including the United Way and the Citizen Services of Frederick, the Center can no longer operate at the high level we require and you expect. After a great deal of thought and consideration, we made the difficult decision to close our doors."

Emmitsburg Mayor Briggs was informed about the closing of the EELC in October. He was told that the student enrollment was down and economically the EELC could not continue with its operation. Mayor Briggs said, "The demand seems to have diminished to the point where it is not feasible to operate."

The EELC was housed in space leased from the Seton Center, Inc. The prefabricated structure was built in 1957 and originally served as the Mother Seton School until 1974 when classes were moved to the new school built on Creamery Road. The Thrift Shop and the Outreach Office, which are part of Seton Center Inc., are not closing. At this time, Seton Center, Inc. is not leasing the space that was once occupied by the Emmitsburg Early Learning Center.

The closing of the EELC will complicate the childcare options for parents who have children in school that require before and after school child care close by. At this time there are only four in-home licensed day care providers in the Emmitsburg area. All four-day cares are at full capacity or close to full capacity.

The Emmitsburg Town Government also provides an after school program for children of town residents for free, but the program is recreational, as apposed too educational in nature. The Town’s after school program is located in the lower level of the Community Center building and has a maximum capacity of 20 students. This program runs from the beginning October to the end of March. Operational hours are from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of each week.

Frederick County also operates YMCA Head Start Center in the lower level of the Community Center building. It is an income based program and is open to students aged 3 – 5 years who reside in Northern Frederick County. There are two sessions each day. The morning session is from 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. The afternoon session is from 12 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. The Center is currently at full capacity.

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